GROWING THE MISSIONAL COMMUNITY A Fieldbook
Len Hjalmarson With contributions from
Phil Wagler Mark Anderson
Thus, the renewal of the church will come not through a recovery of personal experience or straight doctrine, nor through innovative projects of evangelism or social action, nor in creative techniques or liturgical worship, nor in the gift of tongues, nor in new budgets, new buildings, and new members. The renewal of the church will come about through the work of the Spirit in restoring and reconstituting the church as a local community whose common life bears the marks of radical obedience to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Jim Wallis, Agenda for Biblical People, 100-101
GROWING THE MISSIONAL COMMUNITY
SEVEN x SEVEN Rhythm is the way things work. Rhythm is all around us: in our bodies, in the seasons and the tides, in music. Especially in music! This fieldbook is designed to help you find a rhythm in your journey, and to include others also. The fall separated us from God and from one another. The work of God in restoration is creating human communities which demonstrate the new life of the kingdom: a life of shalom. This workbook is set up in a daily format rotating over seven days and spanning seven weeks. The first four days are for individual work. The fifth day will often involve a friend or two, and the last two days are for community process. We suggest allowing twenty to thirty minutes a day. As with any practice that is spiritually forming, you will need to be focused and attentive. Take time to find a quiet, clear space. Get centered by asking for the presence of God and sitting in silence. You’ll find some resources to help you structure this time in Appendix A and D. After you have found that still center, read every word slowly and fight the urge to rush on to the next thing. Let the questions bear fruit: every Scripture is an opportunity for God to speak. Day 5 of the sequence is for community. The rhythm changes, and you work through the following readings, questions and action plans with others. We aren’t very good at rhythm, but the intention here been to build a framework in which you can learn and grow. Rhythms help with this, and we’ll offer some teaching on the importance of rhythms as we go. The practices and reflections will help you begin to understand and incorporate into your life a new way of seeing and a new way of living.
One option you could explore from the outset is set hours of prayer. This ancient prayer rhythm offers a grief prayer form you can follow morning, mid-day and evening every day. The â€œDaily Officeâ€? is found in Appendix A.
Learning and Unlearning "Learn from me, how difficult a thing it is to throw off errors confirmed by the example of all the world, and which, through long habit, have become a second nature to us." Martin Luther There are many theories as to why the western Church is so desperately in need of renewal. But much of the problem is dualism – the deadly system that forms us to believe that we can live one way on Saturday, and another on Sunday. In this system what we believe and the way we live are separated into compartments that rarely meet. But the LORD calls us to wholeness. We live with multiple dualisms: private and public, head and heart, sacred and secular. Like Neo in The Matrix, we have lived so long in this false world that mirrors the real one we have come to believe that this false world is real. We no longer know who we are and we have some unlearning to do before we begin learning. The word “disciple” means “learner.” This workbook assumes that you are ready to follow Jesus as an apprentice, willing to unlearn, and then form new practices as you learn. It assumes that you are ready to be formed in community. The entire flavor of 1 Corinthians 12-14 is that Christ is a body, and we are members of one another through Him. We assume that you will be formed in mind and body and spirit. We are told by Jesus that the LORD is one, and we must love him with all that we are – heart, mind and strength. In the west we have often assumed that it is enough to have a Christian worldview – to think rightly about God and creation. But this is only step one, because we are creatures who follow our hearts – we are created to love and adore. What begins in the mind must make its way inward. Because we are creatures with affections, we must allow what we know to reach to our hearts. The world around us understands very well that it must
appeal to our desires, our inner world of passion and imagination, in order to reach us. Similarly, we must grow as lovers of God – carry the Spirit within us and also embrace disciplines of resistance so that we become formed in our inner world as well as our outer actions. There is a wholeness to life under God’s reign. Because God is One and because He is LORD over all creation, there is no strictly secular world. Everywhere is potentially sacred space. And this also means that mission is not just a spiritual exchange or the domain of human exchange – mission and justice extend to caring for creation. In the seemingly strange book of Jonah God cares for the plants and the animals as well as for the people of Nineveh. Psalm 104 is a beautiful picture of God’s relationship to His creation. Finally, learning to embrace the rhythms of life in God’s kingdom means learning to play as well as to pray. There is joy in God’s world, as well as rest! The practice of Sabbath keeping has much to teach us about covenant faithfulness, just as the Psalms are full of poetry that celebrate the joy of God in the world he created. Sola Dei Gloria
MAPPING THE JOURNEY DAY 1: EXPLORE The first day introduces the subject of the week and provides reflections, stories and concepts to help you get into a new way of seeing or a new practice. The questions and journal space help you do your own wrestling with the material presented, both individually and in the life of your faith community. The questions are designed to challenge you; often they introduce a tension between where you are and where you are headed. Jesus didn’t shrink from this kind of challenge, and he didn’t tell us that the kingdom was an easy or comfortable walk in a park. The good news is that God walks with us on this journey, and he is interested in growing us as disciples. DAY 2: REFLECT On Day 2 we’ll offer a Scripture or two. These will be anchor points for reflection. Read them a couple of times and let God do his work, then work through the questions on the following page.
DAY 3: REMIX This day offers a new challenge. What difference does this make in your life? How would your life be different if you let God change it? There are questions for journaling on Day 3 also.
DAY 4: ENGAGE When you reach this point your heart has already been challenged. This day is about developing a new practice. As we work our way through these eight weeks, we’ll give you suggestions for taking action. Usually this will mean finding a partner.
DAY 5: GATHER By the time you want some support and fellowship, it’s time to be together. On this day you gather with other members of your mission group to share the journey you are in. Actually, this stuff is all really hard on your own. God made us for community, and designed community for all of us. It reflects who He is in His nature.
DAY 6: ALIGN
On Day 6 the theme returns and we offer a new perspective, and this time we do it in community. This offers you a chance to go a bit deeper, and there is nothing like practice to bring your life into line with God’s design.
DAY 7: COMMUNE The last day of the cycle is a Sabbath. “Sabbath” is near to becoming an obscure word, and it reminds us that rest is part of God’s design for us. We challenge you to use this day in a way that is different – restful, recreative, renewing. Hang out with friends and family. Pray.. and also.. play. (These words may be closer in meaning than we thought.)
The Missional God
1. Day 1
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:19-23
All mission is Godâ€™s mission, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit, who not only leads us but who even goes before us into the world. In this sense mission is not a strategic act, but results from the overflowing love of God. Mission is partnering with God in his fruitfulness. It grows out of our immersion in the life of God and his purpose to set all things to rights (In particular, Eph 1-2). Godâ€™s mission creates communities of Jesus apprentices, and Jesus apprentices are sent on mission. Mission thus creates new communities, in an ongoing cycle of kingdom life. All this is founded on the self-giving love of God. As Jesus put it,
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, You will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5
1. Day 1
We see in this passage the creation and first commission of the church, a kind of echo of Genesis 1 â€“ creation to new creation. What might this tell us about Godâ€™s purposes at work in the church and the kingdom?
We see Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the passage. What does it mean to you that God reveals himself as a Trinity? Why do we see all three at work in this story?
Jesus breathes SHALOM. Shalom is a quality of life in the kingdom, both the means of our going and the end we reach. What does it mean to you to be sent out in peace?
Jesus calls us to “abide” in him – to abide in the vine. What sort of practices does this suggest to you? How do we go out.. yet remain in our life in God?
“It is not the Church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a Church in the world.” David Bosch
What differences does this statement suggest to you about the nature of God and the Church?
1. Day 2
The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household, and go to the land I will show you.” “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…” Genesis 12
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with Foundations..” Hebrews 11
1. Day 2
The problem with living in a missional way is that it means becoming available to God in new ways. Abram may have liked the place he was living. He faced a difficult and uncertain journey to a land he had never seen.
What personal challenges do you face as you think about letting God take the lead in your life?
What have you had to personally give up in order to follow after Jesus?
Is there anything hindering you from making the decision to let God direct your life?
Letting God lead us puts us in a place of availability, but also vulnerability. In Luke 9 Jesus tells the disciples, â€œTake nothing for the journey.â€? What do you feel as you realize that following God makes you vulnerable?
1. Day 3
He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: â€œTake nothing for the journeyâ€”no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.. So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. -- from Luke 9
1. Day 3
To be sent means a degree of discomfort. We cross different kinds of barriers in order to take God with us to new places.
Which barrier is most intimidating for you: religious, social, or ethnic?
Jesus said, â€œApart from Me you can do nothing.â€? Yet most of us find we can do quite a lot! What do you think Jesus meant by this statement?
To encounter a new culture is challenging because we don’t know the rules or the symbols. How do we know what is good about culture – what is good soil for the Gospel – and what is not? How do we learn to see?
But biologists tell us that an organism without stress (homeostasis) becomes weak and dies.
Think of some times in your life where you were trying something new. What were the special challenges? How did tension produce growth in your life?
1. Day 4
Imagine the scene where Jesus appeared suddenly in the upper room along with the disciples. Imagine yourself in the room (John 19:20) Imagine that Jesus walks up to you and says, “Come, follow me.” Where do you picture him going with you? Who else is there?
“If those who are in church leadership are looking for the safe place, who will lead the church into the dangerous places?” Erwin McManus, An Unstoppable Force
The ancient Celtic Christians pictured the Holy Spirit as a wild goose. The phrase, “wild goose chase” was a picture for them of following the ever active, unpredictable Spirit.
How do we practice sentness in our neighbourhoods and cities?
> Find a way to bless a neighbor on your street. > Find a way to connect with someone in the wider neighbourhood. At a coffeeshop, a daycare, a grocery store, or maybe an automotive repair shop. > Take someone with you into an unfamiliar area. Talk with someone who lives in a different world than you.
Further Resources – see Appendix F
1. Day 5
When you meet with your mission group there are a few things you should do or considerâ€Ś
>> Share some stories. What have you learned so far? What are you finding particularly challenging? What was your experience in crossing a fence, a street, and a social barrier?
>> Pray for one another. If there are special needs, pray for those. But be sure you also pray for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to go ahead of you as you journey with God in mission.
>> Pray for others. Pray for those spiritual seekers that your group has contact with.
>> Watch a Film. Find a time to watch the movie Chocolat or Patch Adams. Talk together about how faith and culture interact and how the characters are missional.
>> Exchange contact information. Facebook, Email addresses, Twitter IDs, phone numbersâ€Ś
The missional triangle is a simple idea laid out in The Church Between Gospel and Culturei. Notice that those at the front of the triangle are “missional people.” These are ones who decide to live by the common values of the community and follow Jesus in His mission in the world. When people live out the Gospel together, the good news is both seen and announced. The solid circle around this group indicates that they live with a level of accountability together as they seek the reign of God. The larger dotted circle represents the spiritually curious. The dotted line shows that there is no expectation of kingdom living on them. They live as they please and should feel accepted not judged. The two circles overlap. When you live on mission some of these seekers will want to hang out with you. As in the early church, “belonging before believing” is normal. We want to know we are accepted long before we consider the beliefs and living commitments of others.ii
1. Day 6
The Gospels and letters of the New Testament are filled with stories and conversations that challenge us to live in the Jesus way – as a contrast community, an island of peace in a turbulent world. At the close of the book of Matthew the writer sounds a particular call, however, and it is expressed like this:
GO! The tendency in western Christianity has been to see this call as standing alone, as if mission is somehow separated from the way we live daily life in the world. Instead, the GO of the great commission is really an invitation to partner with God moment by moment, in all of our coming – and our going. And secondly, the GO of Matthew 28 should never be separated from the great commandment: to love God and our neighbor. And the WAY we go is as important as the where: when possible include those who don’t yet believe so that they can SEE a new way of life before they adopt it. Sometimes to GO will mean a short email to encourage a friend. At other times it will mean a walk down the street to help a neighbor. Sometimes it might mean a willingness to give up a quiet evening to share it with friends. Still other times it will mean an ongoing commitment to walk with others through their own turbulent
waters. One thing is sure: to GO will cost you something.
1. Day 6
Think of family members, friends, neighbours, and co-workers to whom God may be sending you to demonstrate the good news of Godâ€™s reign. As you think of them, ask yourself these questions:
What would it take for them to be open to hearing the message of Godâ€™s love?
How much time per week can you give to building relationships with these ones? What will you give up in your life to create space for mission, hospitality, etc.?
What real needs do they have that the Lord may want you to meet?
What activities can you invite them to share with you? This may be a current hobby or sport that you love, or something new that you can do with your friends or neighbours.
Going is a good start. But better still is â€œliving among.â€?
The Word became flesh and entered the neighbourhood.. John 1:14, The Message
1. Day 7
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:19-24
The Good News Reign of God
2. Day 1
The Kingdom Reign of God Somewhere God’s reconciling work in creation was shrunk down to my personal salvation. This not only made the Gospel very small, it made God small too. And it made my personal sin seem more important than the brokenness of social structures. It became easy to imagine my own destiny, but harder to imagine a physical restoration where God puts all things to rights under His just rule. But Jesus came preaching “the good news of the kingdom.” As Reggie McNeal likes to quip, Jesus did not say, “I came that they might have church, and that more abundantly!” The word “Gospel” was not first a Christian word. Actually, it was current when Jesus arrived on the scene in Galilee. The announcement of the birth of Octavian about 55 BC went like this: “The providence which has ordered the whole of our life ..has ordained the most perfect consummation for human life by giving it to [him] . . . and by sending in him, as it were, a savior for us and those who come after us, to make war to cease, to create peace everywhere. . . . The birthday of the god was the beginning for the world of the gospel that has come to men through him. The “Gospel” was already a political term in Jesus time – it meant the reign of a king who would bring peace and prosperity and justice. Similarly in Isaiah 40-52 “good news” and “kingdom” are inseparable. No wonder Jesus quotes from Isaiah when he announces his ministry. When we pray “Your kingdom come” we are asking for God’s just reign to appear on earth.. today.. where we live and among us.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:16-21
2. Day 1
The good news is not just about pie in the sky when we die.. it is about Godâ€™s just reign in this world, first through His Messiah, and then through His people. We carry the life of Jesus in the world.
How does this view of the Gospel expand our understanding of salvation?
How does this view of the Gospel change the way we think about justice? About community? About the environment?
David Bosch wrote that, â€œit is not the Church of God that has a
mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a Church in the world.â€?
What does this statement suggest about the relationship of the Church and the kingdom of God?
When the church has treated the mission of God as its own possession it has tended to exist in imperial ways, neglecting the context to which the Gospel comes. But equally bad, we have acted as if the Good News was in our control, rather than us announcing the reign of God. What difference would this make ..
For social action?
2. Day 2
Rediscovering our faith as a way of life is a more profound shift than we might think on first glance. Brian McLaren notes that the word "disciple" (or "learner") is found 250 times in the New Testament, the term "Christian" only three times. The verb we translate "to follow" occurs 90 times. African Bishop David Zac Niringiye was quoted in Christianity Today:. “We need to begin to read the Bible differently. Americans have been preoccupied with the end of the Gospel of Matthew, the Great Commission: “Go and make.” I call them go-and-make missionaries. These are the go-andfix-it people. The go-and-make people are those who act like it’s all in our power, and all we have to do is “finish the task.” They love that passage! But when read from the center of power, that passage simply reinforces the illusion that it’s about us, that we are in charge. “I would like to suggest a new favorite passage, the Great Invitation. It’s what we find if we read from the beginning of the Gospels rather than the end. Jesus says, “Come, follow me. I will make you fishers of men.” Not “Go and make,” but “I will make you.” It’s all about Jesus. And do you know the last words of Jesus to Peter, in John 21? “Follow me.” The last words of Simon Peter’s encounter are the same as the first words…” (Andy Crouch, “Experiencing Life at the Margins.” Christianity Today. July 2006, Vol. 50, No. 7, 32)
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
2. Day 2
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” This kingdom prayer starts with God’s rule and our surrender.
When you think of God’s kingdom extending to earth, how do you feel?
What images come to mind?
Bishop Niringiye prefers “invitation” to “commission.” What difference does this make in thinking about good news? In thinking about mission?
Annie Dillard writes, “This world is real; it offers resistance to love.” When we pray “Your kingdom come” and then go out following Jesus, we know that we are opposing the kingdoms of this world.
What are some ways that you see sin reigning in the world around you?
What conflict do you see that represents the kingdom of God versus the kingdoms of this world?
Jesus laid down his life when threatened with evil. The kingdom of God is not about power in the worldly sense. In what ways have you laid down your life for God’s kingdom?
2. Day 3
“NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU.”
“GO NOW AND LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN.”
Dallas Willard talks about “the gospel of sin management.” So often we are all in knots about the kinds of sin people have in their lives. But sin isn’t just what we do – it is our nature. God is less worried about the type or frequency of sin in our lives than in where our lives are headed. His reconciling work is already complete. John 8 records a story about a woman caught in adultery. According to the law she was condemned. But Jesus protected her and took the question of judgment and righteousness back to her accusers. An Advocate takes the side of one who is condemned. It is a posture completely different from judgment.
2. Day 3
Jesus is always hanging out with sinners and eating at parties. In fact, this gave him a bad reputation with the religious crowd. Do you worry about your reputation when you are with those who don’t live by kingdom values?
Place yourself in the position of the woman caught in adultery. You are with a Holy man and your life may soon be over. Then you hear the words, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
What are you feeling?
What do you want to do next?
Place yourself in the position of Zacchaeus. Jesus calls you down from the tree to dine with him. What do you feel? What are your next thoughts?
Sin is not only personal and private but social and structural. This is
one reason that we close the kingdom prayer by asking God for protection. In most cities and towns we face many kinds of prejudice and injustice. Women, the poor, and minorities often find the system working against them and they need advocates. Think of a time when you were an advocate, standing between a hurt or injured party and one who was guilty.
What was it like to stand between two people? What difference did it make?
Who in your life or in your neighbourhood needs you to advocate for them?
2. Day 4
Take someone from your mission group to a public place. Simply sit and watch the people going by: people talking, people working or shopping. Imagine the stories that go with each face, each life. Imagine the stories of parents and children. Imagine the stories of employers and workers. Imagine the loss, the sadness, the loneliness, the failure, the hopes and dreams, the broken relationships and debt. Talk about what you have seen. Pray for some of those you see.
2. Day 5
Shalom (peace) and berith (covenant) are practically synonymous. Shalom refers to the state of those who participate in the harmonious society. Berith refers to the community and all the privileges and obligations that community implies. Covenant and shalom go hand in hand; God’s community must have one to experience the other. From “Inhabiting the Church”
“The sending of the Son expresses something basic about God: that God wants to be known. God’s mission is to know and be known... “To be fully united to God’s mission is to be fully united to God. And it is this unity in mission to which the disciples are also invited.” James Brownson, The God Who Sent Jesus
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Mathew 9:37-38 For Group Discussion How can you foster prayer for yourselves and others in your community?
So much of mission is simply having eyes to see people the way Jesus sees them. What has changed in your seeing as you have begun to follow Jesus in mission?
For many Christians community and mission have been an “optional” course. We tend to live compartmentalized and separate lives. What inner resistance do you experience to letting yourself be known in community? What rewards have you experienced?
2. Day 6
In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Phil. 2: 5-11
The key word in this passage is ekenosen, from which we get kenosis. The idea is â€œto completely remove or eliminate elements of high status or rank by eliminating all privileges or prerogatives associated with such status or rank.â€? This passage feels much like an explication of Mark 10:40-45, combined with theological reflection on the incarnation of the Word of God. The writer is astonished that the King of Creation, the High Lord of the Universe, could become a mere human, leaving behind all privilege, protection, and power and subject Himself to weakness and humiliation.. -- even death!
To be like Jesus is to enter the world of others, giving up safety, privilege and power and making ourselves nothing.. For the sake of another..
2. Day 6
Think back to your first experiences of community with believers. What was it that drew you to them?
Think of a time and place where you offered love and relationship freely, knowing it might not be returned or that there would be a cost. What happened? What happened within you?
“People are usually converted to a new way of living by getting to know people who live that way and thus being able to see themselves living that way too. This is the way God’s revolution works. The church is meant to be that community of people who make salvation visible for the rest of the world. Salvation is not a property of isolated individuals, but is only made visible in mutual love.” William Cavanaugh, “The Church as God’s Body Language”
In order to transform our communities, the Kingdom of God must become visible among us; and we must have eyes to see. Read one of the parables of the mystery of the kingdom – the mustard seed, leaven in the lump. Talk together about ways in which the invisible kingdom becomes visible.
2. Day 7
Gerhard Lohfink writes that “Hallowed be your Name” is a reference to Ezekiel 36:22-24 where God’s name is made Holy by the gathering of a people. There is something in our communion, through the Spirit, with God and one another that makes the beauty and glory of God visible. The understanding that God is One, yet many, Father, Son and Holy Spirit tells us that community exists in the very heart of Godself. Our fellowship and caring for one another reflects the very being of God. Mission, then, is the overflowing of God’s love and freedom..
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:9-12
HIGHER UP, FURTHER IN
The Mentoring Compass
Upward – relationships with mature followers of Jesus who have resources and experience you need. Downward – relationships with younger followers of Jesus who need what your experience offers.
External – relationships with peers outside your mission group or ministry setting that help you learn new perspectives and see outside your box. Internal – relationships with peers inside your mission group or ministry setting that build camaraderie, accountability, and foster interdependence.
Relationships are not an option for those who want to grow as apprentices of Jesus, especially if you want to finish well. You should be able to identify someone who fills in each of these roles on the mentoring compass.
**Paul Stanley and J. Robert Clinton developed this little tool in their book Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life.
Growing leaders from the Harvest “Leadership can’t be abstracted from the communities that make it possible.” Stan Hauerwas This is counter to the assumptions of most of the leadership literature. But our rediscovery of a theology of place and the importance of context is pushing us in this direction. Neil Cole comments on this dynamic in his excellent book titled “Organic Leadership.” He writes that there is only one clear case of recruitment into an established ministry in the New Testament. There are plenty of good reasons for this. Paul leaves behind leaders (Timothy, Silas and Luke) on his second missionary journey and then arrives alone in Athens (133). This doesn’t go well and he never does it again. Instead, leaders are grown naturally in the fields where they work. This ensures there is never a shortage of leaders. Neil comments that in fact recruitment is a practice of subtraction — taking people from one ministry to work in another. Reproducing leaders from the harvest and for the harvest is a practice of multiplication. Neil writes, “We all want fruit, but Jesus wants us to BEAR fruit, not to BUY it.” (135) Yes, leadership too is a fruit - the fruit of healthy, Spirit empowered community. As you and your mission group grow, you are going to have to keep on listening to the Spirit and building structures that help you work on both the inward life of the group and the outward movement in mission. The Spirit will teach you as you go.
*** God is a king in his kingdom. To live in the kingdom means to live under his kingdom rule.
The Celtic Christians ordered their lives by three R’s – rule, rhythm, and relationship. There is order in a kingdom. Relationship is not separate from rule and the reality of our submission to God and his purposes. We live out this call within certain rhythms. Some may ask the question, “What is at the center?” The established church often seems to make its structures the center, or its leaders. But God and his kingdom remain at the center. For shorthand we could talk about a Person (Jesus) and his Purposes. In modernity we became caught up with forms and structures. The larger churches grew, the more organization was required, until something of the essence of the life (wine) got lost in our worry about the form (wineskin). Missional movements are more concerned with the wine – the living water – than with the containers. This is why Pete Ward coined the term “liquid church.” The form of the gospel will always adjust to the context and so it will look different in different places at different times. In the same way, leadership develops in response to the context and will look different at different times. In modernity, leaders looked like managers and builders. In this new culture, they look more like shepherds, gardeners and poets. In modernity leaders were Directors; in this new space they are Producers. Where leadership in modernity seemed to focus inward, missional leaders look both inward (community) and outward (mission). Where the frame of leadership in modernity was individual (the lone Ranger) now leaders seem more vulnerable and interdependent (Frodo). Leadership now seems more like a communal process than a top-down structure. Boundaries have also shifted, and the way we measure them. Reg McNeal talks about changing the scorecard for the church. Where once it was ABCs, (attendance, buildings, cash) we want to measure faithfulness and depth. We want to focus on people, not programs. We want to rediscover a movement dynamic and a kingdom focus.
A Sending Prayer.. St. Brendan Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home? Shall I turn my back on my native land, and turn my face towards the sea? Shall I put myself wholly at your mercy, without silver, without a horse, without fame, without honor? Shall I throw myself wholly upon you, without sword and shield, without food and drink, without a bed to lie on? Shall I say farewell to my beautiful land, placing myself under Your yoke? Shall I pour out my heart to You, confessing my manifold sins and begging forgiveness, tears streaming down my cheeks? Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach, a record of my final prayer in my native land? Shall I then suffer every kind of wound that the sea can inflict? Shall I take my tiny boat across the wide sparkling ocean? O King of the Glorious Heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea? O Christ, will You help on the wild waves?
Appendices APPENDIX A The Daily Office APPENDIX B Northumbria Vows APPENDIX C Lectio Divina APPENDIX D A Family of Apprentices APPENDIX E Resources APPENDIX F Toolbox Exegete your neighborhood APPENDIX G Missional Church - Charles Ringma
APPENDIX A – Praying the Office When we live from a still center we tend to see life differently. This is because life lived from the center engages our whole being and the lenses through which we see are not as blurred by our own anxieties. But living from the center in a hurried and harried world is not an easy task; and in our market culture sometimes it seems nearly impossible. Simon Carey Holt writes, “…Skimming the surface is the best I can do sometimes. Though I crave depth–the leisure of lingering in one place, one conversation, one task, one thought – the pace of the day doesn’t always allow it. Such is life … I know that. But I know myself too; I can only skim the surface for so long. My spirit begins to crumble at the edges…”iii Simon holds hope that our home’s can become places of healing and retreat, yet so often they seem to be the opposite: places of more busyness and activity. Praying the Office Around 2005 I discovered the Daily Office. As I began to enter its rhythms I began learning some things: • • • • •
I noticed a growing interest in patterns of prayer among some of my friends. I realized that my “spontaneous” prayer life = lack of discipline I was looking for a connection with a larger story and tradition – I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel I realized a pattern / tradition of prayer might be helpful, especially one that was tested through time I began to love the rhythm and language of the prayers
The Office, or Canonical hours, has been around since the fourth century and is practiced by monastic groups, and within the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican communities. This means that well over a hundred million people follow this rhythm. The Office is OLD - The practice of daily prayers grew from the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at set times of the day and was adopted by the early church. In the Book of Acts, Peter and John visit the Temple for the afternoon prayers (Acts 3:1). Psalm 119:164 states: “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.” Wikipedia states: “Canonical hours are ancient divisions of time, developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers.” Choosing a particular discipline and then working it with others is one response to fragmentation and “analysis paralysis.” There are so many options out there, and so many distractions. Unless we choose a practice together we do not grow in it or we simply give up. But the practice is only a means to an end. [A discipline is] “any activity within our power that we engage in to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort.” Dallas Willard
The Morning Office + In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen Opening sentences One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. Call: Who is it that you seek? Response: We seek the Lord our God. Call: Do you seek Him with all your heart? Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy. Call: Do you seek Him with all your soul? Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy. Call: Do you seek Him with all your mind? Response: Amen. Lord, have mercy. Call: Do you seek Him with all your strength? Response: Amen. Christ, have mercy. Declaration of faith To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Prayers for others here.. Christ, as a light illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks to me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right. Blessing May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Mid Day Prayer In the name of the Father, Maker of heaven and earth, and of the Son, Jesus our Lord, and of the Holy Spirit, Creator and Sustainer. Amen
Opening Sentences Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. Establish Thou the work of our hands; establish Thou the work of our hands. Our Father in heaven, Holy is Your name; Your kingdom come; Your will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen
Declaration of faith We believe and trust in God the Father Almighty. We believe and trust in Jesus Christ His Son. We believe and trust in the Holy Spirit. We believe and trust in the Three in One.
Canticle Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days; that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish Thou the work of our hands. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish Thou the work of our hands, dear Lord.
Blessing Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee; all things are passing, God never changes! Patient endurance attains to all things; who God possesses in nothing is wanting; God alone suffices.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Evening Prayer + In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. Call: Out of the depths I have cried to You. Response: O Lord, hear my voice. Call: With my whole heart I want to praise You. Response: O Lord, hear my voice. Call: If you, Lord, should mark iniquities: Response: Who could stand? who could stand? I will wait for the Lord. My soul waits, and in His word do I hope. Expressions of faith Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day; and though I am poor, today I believe. Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day; and though I am weak, today I believe. Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day; and though of anxious heart, today I believe.
Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials; and now, tried as I am, today I believe. Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day; and though it may be hidden, today I believe. Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine; and though the night is here, today I believe. Lord, You have always spoken when time was ripe; and though you be silent now, today I believe. + Prayers for others here In the shadow of Your wings I will sing Your praises, O Lord. The Lord is my light, my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? In the shadow of Your wings I will sing Your praises, O Lord. One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek; to dwell in the presence of my God, to gaze on Your holy place. In the shadow of Your wings I will sing Your praises, O Lord.
I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. O wait for the Lord! Have courage and wait, wait for the Lord. In the shadow of Your wings I will sing Your praises, O Lord.
Blessing See that ye be at peace among yourselves, my children, and love one another. Follow the example of good men of old and God will comfort you and help you, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen
APPENDIX B Reading: Isaiah 61 v 1-3 (One of those taking the vow acts as a "leader" and asks the questions to be answered collectively by the group) Leader: Have you prepared prayerfully, carefully and accountably? All: I have. Leader: Do you understand that the promise you are making is for life and that it adds nothing to your right-standing in Christ?
All: I do. Invitation Readings: o o o o
Great Covenant: Deuteronomy 29 v 12-15 Great Commandment: Deuteronomy 6 v 1-9 Great Commission: Jesus said, â€˜Do this and you will live.â€™ Vow: "A vow is a promise made to God. The promise is binding, and so differs from a simple resolution, which is a present purpose to do or omit certain things in the future. A vow is an act of generosity towards God." (The Catholic encyclopaedia)
Leader: So I invite you, in the presence of witnesses, to devote all your days to God in a solemn and generous vow.
Covenant: Making the Vow All: Fool that I am, I vow my whole life, all that I have and all that I am to be true to Christ in the grace of our Holy Spirit for every day the Father grants me. So help me God. All: Weak as I am, I vow my whole life to be kind to people: to see Christ in others, to serve Christ in others and to show Christ to others in the joy of the Holy Spirit for the glory of our Father. So help me God. All: Small as I am and wherever I am, I vow my life to the Gospel of Christ. Today, together, we offer to spend ourselves on behalf of the broken and poor in the power of the Spirit, giving our whole life that you might be loved in every language, tribe and nation in our generation for the glory of our Father. We will not live for ourselves. So help us God. Reading: â€˜Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we professâ€™ Hebrews 10 v 23-25
APPENDIX C Lectio Divina "To get the full flavor of an herb, it must be pressed between the fingers, so it is the same with the Scriptures; the more familiar they become, the more they reveal their hidden treasures and yield their indescribable riches."-- St. John Chrysostom, A.D. 347-407
• • • •
lectio (reading): "looking on Holy Scripture with all one's will and wit" meditatio (meditation): "a studious insearching with the mind to know what was before concealed through desiring proper skill" oratio (prayer): "a devout desiring of the heart to get what is good and avoid what is evil" contemplatio (contemplation): "the lifting up of the heart to God tasting somewhat of the heavenly sweetness and savour"
Statio First, we arrange a place so it is restful, warm, and non-distracting. This may involve the lighting of candles, the burning of incense, the shutting of doors and drawing of curtains -- whatever makes one feel calm and at peace. Then we assume a bodily posture that is conducive to prayer and reading. We breathe slowly, focusing on the Holy Name of Jesus and nothing else, until we are relaxed and able to focus our attention solely on Scripture aids to meditation can be of great benefit. Now pray a prayer to the Holy Ghost, such as this one: Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts and minds of the faithful servants, and inflame them with the fire of Thy divine love.
Lectio When we are relaxed and in a contemplative mode, we then open it to read. Some may want to focus on Scripture from that day's calendar. We aren't
trying to "accomplish a goal" of reading X amount; we read what is easily digested at that time. Whichever selection we choose, we read it with our minds, slowly, gently, coming to an understanding of the words themselves. At any rate, in Lectio, we are reading for the literal sense of the words, trying to understand the reality the writer of the text intended to convey. Meditatio Now we meditate on what we have read, perhaps even reading it again, visualizing it and listening for the aspect of it that reveals the Divine Mysteries. We want the deeper, spiritual meanings of the words now, and read for its analogical (or "eschatalogical") sense and its typical (or "allegorical") sense -- i.e., we consider types and anti-types, shadows and symbolism in order to understand the deeper reality the Holy Ghost intends to convey by arranging nature and history as He did, thereby inspiring the writer of the text to write as he did. Oratio We ask God to for the grace to be changed by what we have read, to come more fully into being what He wants us to be, and to help us apply the tropological (or "moral") sense of the Scripture to our lives. Contemplatio We rest in gratitude for God and His Word.
Collatio If we are engaging in Lectio Divina with others, we discuss what we've learned.
APPENDIX D – A Family of Apprentices Shaping the Life and Practice of Families In Kingdom Culture: Growing the Missional Church Phil Wagler tells of his family’s journey of befriending and assisting a refugee mother and her five sons as they adjusted to a lonely life in Canada after fleeing East Africa. Wagler reflects on this family adventure in learning the point: “After a few weeks we embarked on the mission to find a suitable long-term home – no small task as you can imagine. We visited countless high rises, all with vacancies, but none would take her and her brood. It was thoroughly frustrating. I became aware – in some ways for the first time – at how racist and prejudiced we were, especially in those post 9/11 days. Finally we found a place in a government subsidized townhouse complex in the inner city. They were thrilled. “Though they knew other Eritrean Muslims in the area it was people from our church family who found furniture and got them moved into their new home. We had great meals with her and slowly and steadily her guard dropped. We rushed to help when the landlord threatened to evict them when she missed her first rental payment. She wasn’t tardy; she just didn’t understand the system. And then we moved away. “Our move across the country was devastating to her. She couldn’t understand why we’d go all the way to Alberta when we had so much right where we were. The good bye was hard. “During a trip home to see family we stopped in for a visit. She was getting used to the idea of snow. The boys were doing well in school and becoming basketball stars. Her English was improving. They were settling in quite nicely. Over tea that day – she always makes tea in beautiful glass cups – she said something profound. As we talked about our times together over the years since her fearful arrival on Canadian soil from a war and a troubled story we were only barely piecing together she said, “You have done so much for us. You have done what even our own people will not do. Why?” Our response – I couldn’t think of anything else to say – was “Because it is how Jesus would want us to live.”
One of the greatest challenges of living a missional life is sharing and developing it as a family. This dimension of being a missional community cannot be taken for granted. It is worthy of attention and discipline because it will be these transformed homes that produce disciples and leaders for the next generation. The Christian home should be the first place in which we tell and practice the Gospel that transforms. It can also be the hardest place to live the Good News reign of God. The crucibles of male-female relationships, of parenting, of sibling rivalry, and then relating to extended family who may or may not follow Jesus can be extremely refining and even discouraging. The story of the Wagler family above is just one example of what a family might choose to do together to train up their children as missional disciples of Jesus. To stir more in this regard think through how some of the following might help shape the life and practice of your missional home: •
Practice Sabbath. Don’t buy into busyness, surrender to the obedience of rest. We know this is counter-cultural and that’s okay. Include God. Including the presence of the Holy in the mundane and not just on Sundays is crucial in developing a home where faith is not dualistic. Gathering the family around the Scriptures in some form will awaken great conversation, bring the Bible out of the past and into the present and force parents to do hermeneutics and get beyond pat answers. Exercise uncommon restraint and generosity. Fight with all your might the urge to simply please your children with the latest gadgetry. There’s nothing wrong with toys, but there is something wrong with idolatry and in western culture there is a fine line between the two. Delaying pleasure and encouraging sacrifice may be a tough sell, but it produces uncommon beauty in a self-centered world. A home where restraint is coupled with generosity (including hospitality, time-use, and financial stewardship) is central to the
development of a people who are a city on a hill. •
Resist segregation. Western culture is moving beyond the segregating of ethnicities (though sometimes far less than we imagine), but we continue to believe that segregating age groups is acceptable and normal. A missional home will aim to mix the immature with the mature and visa versa. Children, and particularly youth, should not be left only to their peers, but be brought into the influential sphere of those more mature and diverse in life experience and worldview. Besides, the young have a way of keeping the old young too.
Cross Cultures. Like the Waglers, who continue to be blessed and shaped by their ongoing relationship with their Eritrean friends, find ways to force, yes force, yourself outside your comfort zone. It will cost you something, but that’s the nature of true worship. It will also force you to wrestle with the nature of truth, love, and the incarnation.
Embrace and Release. Children are a grace to be embraced, but they are not to be stuffed and mounted. They are to be trained and released to use their gifts and talents for the Lord wherever the intersection of his call and their passion leads. Ultimately, our children are meant to become our brothers and sisters in Christ who do the will of their Father in heaven. This long term, big picture view can transform the parenting and missional partnership we have with our offspring.
Love Lavishly. God’s love is sacrificial, selfless, just, and full of grace and mercy. Many marriages and homes, including religious ones, are law-based and full of anger. Lavish love cannot be faked, for it struggles in the power of the Spirit to make the love of God and his peace the central aim of our life together. Making the Christ-centered home a place where the orphan, widow, and even our enemy is loved plants a radically different dynamic in neighbourhoods still reeling from the Fall and expands the hearts of those we most love while reminding them they are not the center of all things.
APPENDIX E â€“ Resources Books Being Consumed, William Cavanaugh Borderland Churches, Gary Nelson The Call to Conversion, Jim Wallis Church After Christendom, Stuart Murray Fire and Ice, Michael Adams The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch & Michael Frost The Forgotten Ways Handbook, Frost & Hirsch God Next Door, Simon Carey Holt The Great Giveaway, David Fitch Inhabiting the Church, Stock, Otto and Wilson-Hartgrove Kingdom Culture, Phil Wagler Movements That Change the World, Steve Addison The Open Secret, Lesslie Newbigin Organic Church, Neil Cole Organic Community, Joseph Myers Organic Leadership, Neil Cole Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard Resident Aliens, Hauerwas & Willimon The Shaping of Things to Come, Hirsch and Frost The Sky is Falling, Alan Roxburgh Spiritual Mentoring, Anderson & Reese The Tangible Kingdom, Halter & Smay Media and Movies Amazing Grace Blindside Chicken Run Chocolat Defiance Henry Poole is Here Media and Movies â€“ More Lady in the Water Lars and the Real Girl
Seabiscuit The Big Kahuma The Soloist The Visitor Up Whale Rider Video Resources The Corporation / The Persuaders / The Story of Stuff Suicidal System Music Limbs and Branches – Jon Foreman Nothing is Sound - Switchfoot The Guest – Lianna Klassen Devotion – Steve Bell Web Sites FCS Urban Ministries New Church Initiatives Empire Remixed Forge Canada The Simple Way The Anabaptist Network Urban Expressions Reclaiming the Mission Micah Challenge ARocha International Justice Mission Jesus Manifesto One International
APPENDIX F â€“ Engage Your Neighbourhood A few years ago our family moved to a new part of town to plant a new church. Our goal from the day we moved in was to build relationships that would allow us the opportunity to serve them and to earn the right to share the gospel. But how do you begin to build relationships with those whom you have never met? 1. Pray for Your Neighbors. Someone has said, "We need to talk to God about people, then talk to people about God." If you have a neighborhood directory use it to identify the names of each family member on your street or cul-de-sac. Make an "Impact List" that will help you pray for each family that you seek to build a relationship with. This list will help you move from simply hoping to reach some nameless neighbor in the future, to specific action aimed at building a new relationship. 2. Be Outside. After dinner take a walk in your neighborhood with an eye for meeting new people. Play with your kids in the front yard instead of the backyard. Some of the best opportunities for our family to meet our neighbors came from playing baseball and Frisbee in our cul-de-sac. Playing ball in the front yard many times acted as a magnate for kids in the neighborhood and inevitably parents would follow. 3. Organize a Garage Sale. Have a garage sale at your house and ask your neighbors if they have anything they would like to sell. We found in many cases neighbors not only brought over items to sell, but they would spend time "working" the sale and creating the opportunity to begin some brand new relationships and deepen existing ones. 4. Invite People for Dessert. One of the best ways to get to know your neighbors is to have them over for dinner. However, we have found that inviting people over for dessert is less work and many times less threatening from their perspective. Dessert is less formal and requires a much smaller time commitment. So the first time we have someone over we will simply invite them to join us for dessert after dinner. 5. Have a Cookout. Everybody loves to eat, and few people will turn down the chance to cookout on the grill and sample others people's favorite dishes. Some of the best-attended gettogethers that we have hosted have been backyard (or front yard) cookouts. On one occasion we had the chance to have one of the local TV stations do their weather from our backyard. We used the opportunity to have a neighborhood cookout and everyone came to meet the weatherman and to be on TV.
6. Ask for advice. Everyone has differing talents and areas of expertise. One way of getting to know our neighbors better is to ask for advice in a person's area of expertise. Having moved from a condominium where the grounds were always cared for, I had many opportunities to ask the more handy men in our neighborhood for advice. Advice on how to operate the sprinkler system, to over-seeding the lawn, to fixing a frozen air conditioning unit. 7. Community cause. Find out if your neighborhood has a Home Owners Association. If so, join in on neighborhood workdays, or find an associational committee on which you can be a part. Find out if there is a neighborhood directory, if not, offer to put one together for those on your street. 8. Have an Open House. One of our first outreach efforts after moving into our new house was to host a "dessert party." We hand delivered special invitations to more than 180 homes in our housing addition. We simply invited people to a "come and go" dessert party where we had a dozen different kinds of desserts for people to sample. We also found that most people are very open to attending a party around the Christmas season. Take advantage of special times in the year to invite the neighborhood over for food and fun. 9. Watch for special needs. Be on the lookout for special needs. Offer to baby sit or perhaps pet sit. Help to maintain yard work while neighbors are on vacation. Not long after moving in we noticed one of our neighbors preparing to paint their house. We spent part of the day helping them paint and that evening they had us over for pizza and we had the opportunity to discuss spiritual issues. 10. Home Bible Studies. The most significant and rewarding step to getting to know your neighbors is to invite them to study God's Word with you. After spending several months taking every opportunity to build relationships with those around us we invited our neighborhood to a new "Home Fellowship" that we started in our home one night a week. 11. Be vulnerable. Have a need that your neighbours can meet. At least borrow a lawn mower or a wrench or a cup of sugar from time to time.
APPENDIX G – Missional Church Australian theologian Charles Ringma defines missional church: “The missional church vision is not a programmatic response to the crisis of relevance, purpose and identity that the church in the Western World is facing, but a recapturing of biblical views of the Church all too frequently abandoned, ignored, or obscured through long periods of church history. It is a renewed theological vision of the church in mission, which redefines the nature, the mission and the organization of the local church around Jesus’ proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom. Missional Churches seek to respond to God’s invitation to join Him in His mission in and for the world, as a sign, a servant and a foretaste of His Kingdom.” 1. “not a programmatic response” In contrast to many visions of church renewal or church growth, we must move beyond pragmatism. Missional church is not a solution for declining attendance or reduced giving. It is not a new outreach program, or indeed any kind of program at all, but rather a rediscovery and reappropriation of biblical views of the Church that have long been obscured. One implication is that we have some work to do to declutter and unlearn before we begin building. Colin Greene writes, “To turn the missional language into a type of church identity is to miss altogether the Newbigin conviction that a missiological engagement with Western culture requires a break with Christendom presuppositions altogether and indeed, at heart, refers not to church identities but to a dynamic new form of public theology and praxis.”iv 2. “a renewed theological vision” “Renewed,” not a new discovery or invention but a reaching back to something that was lost. Missional church is a renewed theological vision of the church in mission, and primarily a recovery of biblical identity around the good news of God’s reign. As some scribe put it, (Bosch?) “it is not the Church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a Church in the world.” Our modern penchant to reduce the gospel to personal salvation or to the purpose of the church (as if mission were our possession) does an injustice to every theological category we know: Pneumatology, Christology, Soteriology, Missiology, Eschatology, Ecclesiology, Theology etc. The work of NT Wright
and others in re-opening the discussion around the meaning of justification in the work of Paul and a reappropriation of covenant language with reference to the gospel is helping us move beyond the narrative that has self at the center. Indeed, the challenge is an alternative “social imaginary.” 3. “church .. redefined.. around Jesus proclamation” While mission precedes ecclesia (missio Dei) once the ball started rolling the movement is circular, interwoven like the double helix - church and mission. Church is “community in mission,” and mission produces shalom communities. But it is also critical to note that missio Dei means “Trinity-in-mission.” If we miss this piece we reinforce the cultural lens of individualism and then easily reinforce the privatist and dualist approach that is killing us. Here too “covenant” has a place. “Organization…” This renewed vision has implications for structure and moves away from institutional paradigms toward organic ones. 4. “good news of the kingdom.” As Reg McNeal quips, “Jesus did not say, ‘I come that they might have church, and that more abundantly.” The reign of God is about God’s rule, a much broader lens than that of the church. We tend to build our Missiology after our ecclesiology, through the lens of practice (and pragmatism). Mission church, as a renewed theological vision, moves back to the basic questions: who is God and what is he doing in the world? 5. “sign, servant and foretaste of His kingdom” Again, it is the kingdom that is primary. Jesus did not come preaching the Church of God. But here too there is reciprocity, and church and kingdom are neither identical nor separable. Who paints this picture better than Newbigin, with the Trinitarian lens: “The concern for mission is nothing less than this: the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of the Father of Jesus over all humankind and over all creation. Mission.. is the proclamation of the kingdom, the presence of the kingdom and the prevenience of the kingdom. By proclaiming the reign of God over all things the church acts out its faith that the Father of Jesus is indeed ruler of all. The church, by inviting all humankind to share in the mystery of the presence of the kingdom hidden in its life through its union with the crucified and risen life of Jesus, acts out the love of Jesus that took him to the cross. By obediently following where the Spirit leads, often in ways neither planned, known, nor understood, the church acts out the hope that it is given by the presence of the Spirit who is the living foretaste of the kingdom.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 64)
George Hunsberger and Craig Van Gelder, The Church Between Gospel and Culture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) 329. ii See Stuart Murray, Church After Christendom (Bletchley: Paternoster Press, 2004) 26. iii Simon Carey Holt, God Next Door (Melbourne: Acorn Press, 2008) iv Reference needed.
Helping to establish roots and rhythms and through biblical reflection lead believers into missional practices.
Published on Mar 3, 2010
Helping to establish roots and rhythms and through biblical reflection lead believers into missional practices.